My experience on the AFBF Deficit Task Force in 2009 was a wake up call. I quickly became convinced our country’s biggest long-term problem is rising health care costs. When I first saw the figures, I was amazed. Is our medical system self-destructing and we just haven’t realized it yet? The average total cost of health care for a family of four in the U.S. is now $20,728 and these costs have been rising at more than 8% per year. The average cost of health insurance is now $17,258 with employers on average paying $12,144 and employees paying $5,114. Out-of-pocket costs make up the remainder. Private companies are dropping or reducing health insurance for their employees and state governments are laying off teachers because they can’t afford the yearly increases in premiums. The rapid increase in the predicted federal deficits after 2020 is due mainly to increasing Medicare and Medicaid costs. We need to make big changes, but how?
I’ve written previous blogs exploring this topic here, here, here, and here. I recently wrote an OWC chairman’s column for the OregonWheat magazine on Reining in Health Care Costs. In my next two blog posts, I plan to explore further two points from my chairman’s column—why market forces have failed to control costs and why I’m enthusiastic about Wyden-Ryan voucher plan.
Today’s NY Times has a column that’s a good lead-in to the first up-coming blogs.